Star midfielder and Olympic bronze medal-winning captain Manpreet Singh will lead a 20-member strong Indian hockey team in the double-leg FIH Pro League ties against South Africa and France to be held between Feb. 8 to 13.
Manpreet will be assisted by ace dragflicker Harmanpreet Singh.
Young dragflicker Jugraj Singh and striker Abhishek are the two new faces in the squad.
Jugraj, who is from Attari, came into the senior national camp for the very first time this time after he impressed the national selectors during the first Hockey India Senior Men Inter Department National Championship where he turned up for Services Sports Control Board.
Abhishek, on the other hand, is a striker who was earlier part of the junior program and had played for the India colts in Sultan of Johor Cup in 2017 and 2018.
From Sonepat, Haryana, Abhishek also did well for Punjab National Bank in the maiden Senior Men Inter-Department National Championship which helped him earn a spot in the senior national camp for the first time.
“After a three-week camp in Bengaluru, a team has been selected that includes 14 Tokyo Olympians and two debutants,” India’s chief coach Graham Reid said in a statement.
Keeping in mind the COVID-19 pandemic, India will travel with four additional players besides keeping five stand-bys.
The Indian team will leave for South Africa from Bengaluru on Feb. 4.
India will play France in their first match on Feb. 8 before squaring off against hosts South Africa the next day.
The Indians will again play France on Feb. 12 and then finish off their engagements against South Africa the next day.
Goalkeepers: P.R. Sreejesh, Krishan Bahadur Pathak.
Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh (Vice-capt.), Amit Rohidas, Surender Kumar, Varun Kumar, Jarmanpreet Singh, Jugraj Singh.
Midfielders: Manpreet Singh (Capt.), Nilakanta Sharma, Hardik Singh, Jaskaran Singh, Shamsher Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad.
Forwards: Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Akashdeep Singh, Shilanand Lakra, Dilpreet Singh, Abhishek.
Standbys: Suraj Karkera, Mandeep Mor, Raj Kumar Pal, Sumit, Gursahibjit Singh.